Friday, August 29, 2008

Bishop Ricken's Installation Scores a Touchdown

During his installation ceremony, as a nod to the home team, Bishop David Ricken, the man charged with calling the plays for the Green Bay diocese, decided to sing the chorus of the country song "Drop Kick Me, Jesus" before giving his homily in which he discussed St. Augustine's search for meaning.

I wonder if

"Drop kick me, Jesus, through the goal posts of life
End over end neither left nor to right
Straight through the heart of them righteous uprights
Drop kick me, Jesus, through the goal posts of life"

fits within the parameters of what Pope Benedict XVI, the Church's General Manager, intends for the liturgical music changes.

May God Bless His Eminence, Bishop Ricken. May the angels direct his arm and may his opponents never recognize when he's going for a Hail Mary play.

Teen Called "To Grow in Holiness"

Here, from The Catholic Globe out of Sioux City, IA, is an article in its entirety:

By KARA KOCZUR, Globe staff reporter (Email Kara

At 19 years of age, to the world, Emily Morse has her whole life ahead of her. She has time to travel, time to date and time to just “do whatever.” But, that’s not what she wants.

She wants to be a nun.

Not only does she want to be a nun, but she believes God is calling her to be one. Yet, this lively and energetic girl has encountered skeptics.

“A lot of times I’ll get, ‘Wow, you’re just finishing your freshman year of college. Don’t you want to see a little more of the world? Aren’t you afraid of giving up marriage?’” Morse said.

Her answer is simply “no.”

“If God is calling me to do something then I want to do that one thing,” said Morse, a parishioner at St. John the Baptist in Bancroft. “To grow in holiness, that’s what I want to do. So, why put that off by trying to entertain myself with a life God didn’t call me to? He called me first to be a sister.”

Morse will be entering the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr of St. George on Sept. 8, the feast of the Nativity of Mary. She will be entering at their motherhouse in Alton, Ill. Throughout the United States, 122 sisters belong to the community, whose two main charisms are nursing and teaching, both which Morse said she loves.

“I was drawn to the order by their life of prayer and service, their very good balance between the both of them, and just their joyous spirituality there,” she said.

Morse, who would have been going into her sophomore year at Iowa State, will only be allowed to bring with her necessities for life, such as a coat and hat, and a few meaningful religious items.
Her first year of life at the convent will be her postulancy, where she will be mainly working with the community at a daycare, hospital or at the convent. During this time, Morse will wear a jumper instead of a habit and veil.

“It’s a year of discernment and immersing yourself in the life of these specific sisters of that Franciscan lifestyle,” she said.

At the end of her postulancy, Morse will receive the habit, white veil and religious name. The next two years will be her novitiate, after which she will make first vows and enter her juniorate, which lasts another four to six years. At this point Morse will be sent to school for either teaching or nursing, though she hopes nursing. From the time she enters, it will take about eight years before she is a fully professed sister.

The call

The religious life has always been very attractive to her, Morse said, but it was in high school that she began to take that attraction more seriously. She began to visit different communities, like the Missionaries of Charity, to get a feel for religious life. Morse said that was when she began to think she could live that life, and that God wanted her to live it.

“It was through prayer that I discovered that call initially, but through visiting the sisters and seeing how joyous they were and finding I could be myself there, . . .that was the moment that I knew this is it,” she said.

As a religious sister, Morse is giving herself to Christ as his bride, as a sign of the full communion she’ll have with him in heaven, she said.

“It’s saying, ‘God, I’m willing to give that sacrifice of a human marriage to you, in gratitude for the union that we will have in heaven, to draw the eyes of my friends and people that I meet throughout the world to that greater union that will be in heaven,’” Morse added.

This summer, Morse was a Totus Tuus teacher in the diocese. She said her experience in the program helped solidify her call to religious life by giving her a taste of community life, as well as having a structured prayer life that included the Liturgy of the Hours.

“It helped me have more confidence that I could live in a community,” she said, “and it helped me to be brutally honest with my brothers and sisters, which were my teammates throughout the summer.”

This isn’t the first time a Totus Tuus teacher from the diocese has gone on to pursue religious life. A teacher from 2007, Sarah Stodden, now Sister Mariela, also entered the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr of St. George.

Morse’s family has been a source of encouragement in her discernment of God’s call. The third oldest of five girls, she said having sisters who share her beliefs and who challenge her to do what’s right has been helpful. Morse’s oldest sister is also a religious sister, and having her as an example of what it means to be the bride of Christ has made religious life more tangible to her, she said.

Her mom has also been a great example of what it means to be Catholic, not just on Sunday, but every day of the week, Morse said, and has sacrificed a lot so that Morse and her sisters could grow in their faith.

“She has laid her life down so that we can be Catholic,” Morse said about her mother. “She has always taken us to daily Mass, since before I can remember. She encouraged us to go to confession regularly, as well as praying the family rosary. That has been a big thing in my life.”
Morse said it’s going to be hard for her family when she leaves, but that it will be hard for her as well. Once she enters on Sept. 8, she’ll only be able to see her family for a few days twice a year, including a home visit once a year, write letters once a week and call them a few times a year.

“It’s hard for them to give me up,” Morse said. “But, they also realize what the most important thing is. It helps me that they realize this too, is God’s will, and that’s when we’re going to attain the happiness that we’re seeking.”

Morse said one the things she’s most grateful for is the honor and privilege that God has called her to this vocation. She must depend on him for everything, she said, and in taking it day by day, she is able to do the Lord’s will. But, that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to contemplate what she’s about to do.

“Sometimes I’ll be thinking and I’ll be like, ‘What?! God is really calling me to be his bride? Are you serious Emily?’” she said. “It kind of blows me away sometimes, but it’s just [through] his mercy and his love that he allows us to have such a union with him even here on earth.”

As I told the article's author, Kara Koczur, I found this piece to be valuable on multiple levels - for people discerning a religious vocation, for families needing to develop an acceptance of such a vocation and, possibly most importantly, to encourage parents to create an authentic Catholic culture within their families so that children have an atmosphere conducive to recognizing such a calling. Plus, romantic that I am, I found it to be heartwarming.

What Does a Bored Mom With a Camera Do?

Why take a picture of what her bored kid has done, of course!


Just anounced...

Mom of five, member of Feminists for Life, Sarah Palin is John McCain's running mate for the 2008 election!!!!!!!!!!!

Can you say Ms. Vice President?

Can you imagine an authentic Catholic as the Republican Vice Presidential Candidate?

Can you pray a prayer that Alaska's Governor Sarah Heath Palin is John McCain's pick for the ticket?


Update: Palin is not Catholic. She was raised Catholic and has since become a protestant. However, she seems mighty Catholic in character.

Oncologist Revokes Living Will

People in favor of euthanasia often support it "for others," without thinking about the end of their own lives, contends a cancer patient who changed her mind about life after she was diagnosed with her terminal disease.

Silvie Menard, a French oncologist and consultant at the Center of Experimental Oncology of the National Institute of Tumors in Milan, Italy, spoke of her change of perspective in a conference at the Rimini meeting organized by Communion and Liberation. The annual meeting is under way through Saturday.

She said she had arranged for a living will, but as soon as she discovered that she was ill with cancer, she changed her mind.

Menard, a specialist in the study of cancer and the new medicines to combat it, said that after years of work with gravely ill people, she was in favor of living wills. But when she discovered that she herself had a bone marrow tumor, her life "took on a different meaning."

"Since knowing that I am sick, I feel like living every instant of my life, precisely because I realize that it is the only one I have," she said.

To read this whole article written by Antonio Gaspari for Zenit, please click here.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Eucharist Stealing Student Senator Impeached

The Student Government Association of the University of Central Florida in a vote of 33 to 2 decided to impeach the student senator who "kidnapped" the Eucharist at a Catholic Campus Ministry Mass on June 29th of this year.

The impeachment is not an immediate expulsion of Webster Cook from his student government post. Rather, the impeachment sets in motion an investigation into the matter by the Legislative, Judicial and Rules Committee. Based upon the findings of that committee, the Student Government Association will determine if Cook will be permitted to remain a student senator.

Prior to this evening's SGA meeting Cook decried the whole process. He felt due process was being denied and that there were procedural violations in the case.

"This is malice," Cook said. "They're not interested in finding the truth."

Call me silly, but I personally find his violation of our Eucharistic Lord to be malicious in nature. It was the act of a child incapable of seeing beyond himself, not that of a man who is owed consideration.

Santa Marian Kamalen - Our Lady of Camarin

The statue to the right is an image of Guam's patron saint, the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Chamorro, as the indigenous people of Guam are called, honor her as Santa Marian Kamalen, Our Lady of Camarin.

The Chamorro have a legend associated with a 300 year old wooden statue of Santa Marian Kamalen.

One version of the legend of Santa Marian Kamalen is that one day a fisherman noticed the statue in the water while he was spear fishing. He swam toward it to get a closer look. Oddly though, no matter how much he tried to draw closer to it, it seemed to retreat. Every attempt to get close to the statue failed. Frustrated, he returned to land to ask the advice of the village priest.

The priest had a simple answer. He told the fisherman who fished dressed in next to nothing that he needed to only attempt to approach Our Lady's statue again fully dressed in his finest Sunday clothes.

The man listened to the priest and did just that. On that attempt he had no difficulty approaching and getting the statue.

A member of the Dotacion, the militia, the fisherman soon reported for a required two months of service. He took the statue with him. Due to the fact that the main barracks where under construction, the statue had to be placed in a tool shed.

That is where the name of the statue originated - in Spanish the word for that building that housed the statue is camarin. In the Chamorro it is a kamalen. Therefore, she is Maria del Camarin or Santa Marian Kamalen, The Lady of the Barracks.

The statue was moved to the barracks chapel when construction was completed. There she remained for almost 150 years until the militia was disbanded. At that time the Santa Marina Kamalen statue was moved to Dulce Nombre de Maria church. The church has since become a cathedral.

There have been notable times when the statue was moved from the church.

During World War II occupation of Guam by the Japanese a young woman named Mariquita Torres cared for the statue, lying to the Japanese authorities when they tried to take it. Tita, as she was called, told the soldiers that the statue was only lent to the church for special occasions.

Father Jesus Baza Duenas, who would later be beheaded by the occupiers, validated the assertion informing those in command that it was indeed property of the Torres family. When the family would be forced by bombings to go to a bomb shelters, Tita would bring the statue.

In more recent times, the statue has been stolen three times. The first two times, the statue was returned without repercussions. The thieves weren't even identified.

The recovery of the statue after the third theft occurred a little more than a month after it disappeared. While trimming plants in a park, a maintenance person looked up from his work to see someone waving at him. It was the missing statue.

The Santa Marian Kamalen statue has survived war, theft, an earthquake and fire.
The natural wear caused by the passage of time has led to the statue occasionally being removed from the church for minor repairs. The Chamorro say that one such time her face was scraped too roughly. It was then that the statue is said to have bled.

A replica of Santa Marian Kamalen is enshrined in the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

Good Samaritan Hospital of Los Angeles, California will be placing a replica of Santa Marian Kamalen in the hospital's All Soul's Chapel. On September 7th, a Mass in honor of the Blessed Mother will be celebrated at the chapel. A Southern California Chamorro choir will sing at the Mass.

Woman Crawls 2 1/2 Miles to Attend Mass

Please take a moment to wrap your mind around this CNA article:

The Little Sisters of the Abandoned Elderly in Chissano (Mozambique) took into their home this week a 25 year-old African young girl named Olivia, who despite not being baptized at the time and not having any legs, crawled 2.5 miles every Sunday to attend Mass.

According to the AVAN news agency, the nuns said that one day, they saw “something moving on the ground far away,” and when they drew near they saw, “to our surprise, that it was a young woman.”

“We were able to talk to her through a lady who was walking by and who translated into Portuguese what she was saying to us” in her dialect, they said.

The sisters said that although “the sand from the road burned the palms of her hands during the hottest times of the year,” the young woman crawled to Mass, “giving witness of perseverance and heroic faith.”

The young woman received baptismal preparation from a catechist, who periodically visited her at home. After she was recently baptized, one of the benefactors of the sisters donated a wheel chair for Olivia.

And, exactly, how difficult is it for us to get out of bed to make it to Sunday Mass? Makes ya think.

God Bless Olivia.

Feast of St. Augustine of Hippo

Author, Bishop, Doctor of the Church, Philosopher, Theologian

Of his conversion, St. Augustine "confessed" to God:

Suddenly I found it delightful to be without those trivial pleasures that I had feared to lose and was now glad to reject.

My mind was at last free from the gnawing cares of ambition, of the hunger for gain; free to stop wallowing in self-indulgence and picking at the scab of lust. I was now talking freely to you, Lord God, my light, my wealth and my salvation.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

House Reps Tell Pelosi - "Rectify Your Errant Claims and Apologize"

Nineteen Catholic Representative of the United States Congress have drafted and signed a letter telling House Speaker Nancy Pelosi regarding her highly publicized comments from this past weekend's appearance on Meet the Press. Here it is:

Speaker of the House of Representatives
H-232, The Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Speaker Pelosi,

On the Sunday, August 24th, broadcast of NBC’s Meet the Press, you stated “as an ardent, practicing Catholic, [abortion] is an issue that I have studied for a long time.” As fellow Catholics and legislators, we wish you would have made a more honest effort to lay out the authentic position of the Church on this core moral issue before attempting to address it with authority.

Your subsequent remarks mangle Catholic Church doctrine regarding the inherent sanctity and dignity of human life; therefore, we are compelled to refute your error.

In the interview, Tom Brokaw reminded you that the Church professes the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death. As stated in the *Catechism of the Catholic Church*: “Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being” (2274).

To this, you responded, “I understand. And this is like maybe 50 years or something like that. So again, over the history of the Church, this is an issue of controversy.” Unfortunately, your statement demonstrates a lack of understanding of Catholic teaching and belief regarding abortion.

From the Apostles of the first century to Pope John Paul the Great “the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law” (*Catechism *2271).

Thus, your erroneous claim about the history of the Church’s opposition to abortion is false and denigrates our common Faith. For example, during the reign of Pope Innocent XI in 1679, the Church unequivocally stated it is an error for Catholics to believe a fetus does not have a soul; and confirmed the teaching that abortion constitutes an unjustified taking of innocent human life.

To reduce the scandal and consternation caused amongst the faithful by your remarks, we necessarily write you to correct the public record and affirm the Church’s actual and historical teaching that defends the sanctity of human life. We hope that you will rectify your errant claims and apologize for misrepresenting the Church’s doctrine and misleading fellow Catholics.


Thaddeus McCotter

Steve Chabot

Virginia Foxx

Phil Gingrey

Peter King (NY)

Steve King (IA)

Dan Lungren

Devin Nunes

John Sullivan

Pat Tiberi

John Boehner

Phil English

Jean Schmidt

Jim Walsh

Jeff Fortenberry

Michael McCaul

Paul Ryan

Walter Jones

Mike Ferguson

I wonder if Madam Speaker has done anything more than scoff at the attention her ignorant boastful manner has generated. Probably not.

May things such as this situation ever serve to remind us to pray for our leaders.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Which One of These Things Just Doesn't Belong?

Remember the Sesame Street song, "One of These Things Doesn't Belong?" Well, that song started playing in my mind when I read a story about porn star Jenna Jameson's preganancy. Below are items from the piece:

  • She is thrilled at the idea of having a baby

  • She had previously, unsuccessfully, tried in vitro as another means to get pregnant.

  • A devoted Catholic, Jameson believed that “It was all in God’s plan.”

  • “I think I’m gonna stay unmarried and just go for the babies!” she told US.

  • “I’m following in Angelina’s footsteps!”

Now, which one of those things just doesn't belong?

They are definitely all from the same article. Not that I usually have any thoughts regarding Jenna Jameson, I think that it would be a good thing if, as she prepares for the baby, she has an authentic experience of her Catholic faith.

Best wishes, Jenna!

Contest Closed Before Opened

So sorry to have to tell all the religious looking forward to competing in the "Miss Sister 2008" contest, but the pageant has been "suspended."

Fr. Antonia Rungi, the Passionist priest stationed in Mondragone, Italy who organized the Internet contest, said, "It was not at all my intention to put nuns on the catwalk." Yet he was pressured into halting this unique event.

"My superiors were not happy. The local bishop was not happy, but they did not understand me either," Father Antonio Rungi told Reuters by telephone.

Imagine the superiors of the nuns when they receive invoices for pageant portfolio photographs when there's no pageant. Sigh. Mother superiors all over the world would be so much more understanding if the cost for the pictures led to a sister winning a crown that could then be used for the motherhouse's Infant of Prague. Sigh.

Happy Birthday, Mother!

On this day in 1910, Nikola and Dranafile Bojaxhiu's youngest child was born.
Named Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, the world would come to know their daughter as Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
In celebration of her life, members of many faiths came together at Mother Teresa's tomb to pray for world peace and specifically the victims of the July Mumbai terrorist attack which killed 42 and injured roughly 150 people.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Petition for Adherence to Church Standard

Mid-July I had posted telling you about the president of the University of San Diego's decision to withdraw an offer of the Monsignor John R. Portman Chair, an honorary seat in the theology department that brings with it a position teaching an undergraduate class. Well, since that time, two feminist organizations decided to organize pressure upon the university to confer the honor upon the writer whose positions are in direct opposition to the Church's authority.

It is not made obvious by the university's name, but the University of San Diego is a Roman Catholic institution.

Brian McDaniel has started a a petition in support of the university's position of holding true to the Church in this matter of an honorary seat in the theology department of this Catholic university. He'd like to gather 4000 names by September 3rd, the first day to this semester.

To help out, please go sign Brian's "Support the University of San Diego’s Stance Against Rosemary Radford Ruether" petition. I don't really see it as being against this woman; rather, as being for adherence to the Church's standard.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Nun Beauty Contest - "Miss Sister 2008"

I was just over at the Deacon's Bench where I found out that there is an Italian priest who has decided to sponsor a beauty contest featuring nuns. The online contest is called "Miss Sister 2008."

Rev. Antonio Rungi feels that this contest will enhance the collective image of Roman Catholic nuns.

"We are not going to parade nuns in bathing suits," Fr. Rungi noted in a telephone interview. "Being ugly is not a requirement for becoming a nun. External beauty is gift from God, and we mustn't hide it."

I wish Mother Angelica was still actively broadcasting. She would surely have a good time with this.

When I searched the Internet for more information on this story - the Deacon is good, so there wasn't anymore info than that in his post - I found that this isn't the first enterprise initiated by this priest.

At the beginning of this month, Reuters reported that Fr. Rungi decided to combat the fact that vacationers leave church behind when they go on holiday by taking church to the vacationers.

Fr. Rungi had a 96 foot inflatable "church" placed on a beach located on the Adriatic coast. From that church priests hear confessions. In the evenings, as a complement the Sacrament of Penance, I suppose, there will be a group of four or five singing about God.

This was attempted last month in Sardinia, but high winds foiled the effort. Go figure.
Complete beach story.

Today's Gospel

Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi and he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.
Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ. (Matthew 16:13-20)

May God continue to bless our beloved Pope Benedict XVI.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Luminous Mother of Light - Ina ng Liwanag at Pagmamahal

The image above, by Araceli Dans, is the first depiction of the Virgin Mary by an award winning artist in what would be considered Filipino attire. Baro at saya is what the blouse and skirt are called. Tapis is the term for the sash over the Blessed Mother's shoulder. The lacework, calado.

The genesis of the painting was when Dans visited the Luminous Cross of Grace shrine in Agdangan, Quezon with her niece last September. In the Araceli Dans' native language the piece is titled “Ina ng Liwanag at Pagmamahal.” Dans has said that she feels her life's work has been a preparation for the creation of this work.

As for the Filipino attire, “I wanted an image of the Blessed Mother that the suffering Filipinos can connect and identify with,” Dans said.

Just Sharing Two Pictures

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Migrant Raids

Bishop Asks to Halt Migrant Worker Raids

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island, AUG. 21, 2008 ( The bishop of Providence is urging immigration agents to evaluate the morality of immigration raids and be ready to conscientiously object to participating in them.

Bishop Thomas Tobin and 15 pastors of the Diocese of Providence who minister to immigrant communities sent a letter to the interim director of Immigration and Custom Enforcement urging a moratorium on raids seeks undocumented workers. They contended that raids should be halted until Congress has managed to pass just and comprehensive immigration reform measures.

"As religious leaders we understand and support the need to apprehend and arrest individuals who are responsible for felonies and other serious crimes," the bishop wrote. "The enforcement of just laws is necessary for public safety and the common good.

"But the arrest of serious criminals is not what we have observed in the arrest and detention of immigrants that has taken place recently in our state, particularly in Newport and in Providence."

The letter comes after a series of raids in Rhode Island over the summer, as well as the death of an immigrant who was denied medical care in a Rhode Island prison two weeks ago.

Click here for full story.

Cultural satanist?

Anyone who is really connected to their Catholic faith has at least heard, if not uttered, the term Cultural Catholic meaning that being Catholic to someone is more of a cultural identity for the person rather than a "deeper" spiritual identity. A cultural Catholic simply doesn't rigidly adhere to the tenants of the Church.

This isn't something unique to Catholics. Most Jewish people that I know only visit synagogues for Bar/Bas Mitzvahs and weddings - the ones who attend Yom Kippur services are darn near zealots, comparatively. Even amongst the Christians who identify themselves as fundamentalist and who will stand up to say they will not be amongst those "left behind," there are people who simply pick and choose how much of their religion is integrated into their lives.

I'm sure it true of satanists, too.

It only makes sense. How many groups ever form as a totally cohesive unit with complete commitment? If God's people don't, do you really think a fallen angel's people do? How often have you heard people say that they are going to put away their wishes so as to be faithful to something they aren't completely "feeling?" Even with all the worldly trappings satan offers, when your wife, in that less than special tone, says it is date night and that dancing in the moonlight is not on the agenda, you're going to put off your blood offering. Stuff comes up and ya gotta put things in perspective.

There is a judge in Iowa currently trying to put things in perspective for the trial of Lawrence Harris, Sr. who is accused of killing his two step-daughters, 10 year-old Kendra and 8 year-old Alysha Suing. The prosecutors in the trial wish to be able to refer to satanism in their arguments because they feel the evidence indicates that the deaths occurred while Harris was practicing satanism and were the result of a satanic bible ritual.

The defense counsel suggests that the state's attorneys want that inclusion merely as a way to grand stand.

That leaves the trial judge sloshing through the sludge of the satanic bible, along with a high priest of the church of satan's affidavit regarding his church's practices.

I'm just wondering if the high priest might not just be more of a cultural satanist than one would think someone with his title would be. After all, there are actually pro-choice Catholic priests. Or, perhaps, he wants to distance his church, for the sake of its reputation, from such an unskilled layman. After all, in explanation of the killings, Harris told the police "he had been 'casting a spell that went bad.'" Really, what lucifer loving loony wants to be associated with someone who openly admits to error? And let's not forget - the guy actually tried to cover up the murders by trying to burn the house down with the bodies inside. Soooooo amateurish.

Let's pray for Kendra, and Alysha that they may rest in peace.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Heartwarming Story of a Life Saved

Below is a story originally printed in "The Gift of Life" newsletter, August 2008 issue. It is the real life experience of John Ternan, Chaplain, Cops for Christ.

A Victory at the Hillcrest Holocaust
November 24, 2007, started out like any typical Saturday at Hillcrest Women's Medical Center. Ed Snell, Marlin Scheidler and I arrived around 6:30 A.M. We each took up positions to talk to the women coming in. I was located in the front of the fence along side the driveway entrance to the center.

I held my double-sided sign. On the one side was the heading: I'm the Face of Pro-Choice America and underneath is the picture of an aborted baby. The other side reads: I'm the face of Pro-Life America and underneath is the picture of a smiling newborn. Through the years, this sign has saved many babies. The abortionist, Earl McLeod, had already arrived and many women had already gone into the killing-center. It was now getting late.

A couple had parked in the back and walked up the alley to go into the front door. Ed and Marlin spoke to them and I then showed them my sign and pleaded for the life of the baby. They said nothing and went in. It was late now and I was thinking of leaving, when Clyde walked out and asked to talk with me. The sign and our presence got his attention. Clyde said his girlfriend, Heather, did not want the abortion, but she had no choice, money was a problem.

Clyde told me his background, including a number of years in prison as well as being nearly broke. He relied on Heather's salary. I told him that pro-life volunteers would help him if she would keep the child. Clyde took my telephone number and said he would talk to Heather. He would call me if she did not go through with the abortion. He returned to the abortion center and I went home. I had mixed feelings but hoped Heather would not go through with the abortion.

Later that same day, Clyde called and said Heather did not have the abortion. She wanted to meet and discuss how we could help. Clyde, Heather, Ed and I all met at a local restaurant. We told Heather about the pro-life centers that would help her during and after the pregnancy. She was grateful and ended up going to Life-Choices in Camp Hill. She was treated wonderfully there and was introduced to Pastor Rich Cline and his wife Judy from Cornerstone Fellowship, located in Wormleysburg. Heather faithfully attends and is a cherished member of the church.

I had the privilege to pray with Heather to repent of sin and trust in the Lord Jesus as her Savior. Heather has spiritually matured before my eyes as she trusts Christ to help and provide for her and the baby. She has really made a commitment to the baby. She had to leave a very lucrative job and give up her new vehicle. Clyde has since dropped out of the picture (but we thank God for Clyde, without him the baby, Cayden Anthony, could very well have been killed). Heather now works cleaning houses and babysitting to pay for expenses. During this time she also obtained her GED degree. She will work up to delivery.

Since the above was written by Chaplain McTernan was able to provide an update: "Early in the morning on July 9, 2008, Cayden Anthony left the womb a strapping big-league 9lbs 1oz. A victory for all of us on November 24, 2007, all power to the risen Lord."

When I called "The Gift of Life" newsletter editor, Ed Snell, to ask for permission to reprint this piece here, he told me that Cayden Anthony is doing well. Heather's decision may spare the lives of others, too. Mr. Snell said that their organization's counselors are showing a picture of Cayden at one month on a poster to women entering the "clinic."

I'd like to add one thing to this story - When Chaplain McTernan's story said that Heather would receive help if she decided to keep the child that didn't mean she wouldn't receive help if she decided to place the child up for adoption. Assistance from pro-life centers is available to all pregnant women - whether a woman feels she will parent the baby or if she decides to share the gift of the child with a couple who feels called to be parents.

40 Days for Life

40 Days for Life begins 34 days and 10 hours from when I am posting this and I'm really jazzed by the fact that I received a newsletter today that indicates that there will be activities in our area related to this awesome national cause. Physical limitations may keep me from participating at the abortion mills, but I definitively plan to be part of this initiative.

If you've never heard of 40 Days for Life, here are some items about it:
  • It began in 2004 in Bryan/College Station, Texas
  • Participants pray and fast for the end of abortion
  • By fall of 2007, people from more than 80 communities in 30+ states
  • One community experienced a 28% drop in abortions due to the campaign
  • 35,000 people have participated in 40 DfL prayer vigils
  • 500 document cases of lives saved because of 40 Days for Life
  • Abortion industry workers have left the profession due to 40 DfL
  • The next 40 Days for Life will occur September 24 - November 2, 2008
  • You don't need to be a Catholic or member of any other Christian denomination
  • You may visit the national 40 Days for Life web site by clicking HERE

Everyone can participate.

Let's say you have difficulty getting around so praying at an abortion "clinic" would be out of the question - that just means your part of the campaign could be focused upon prayer and fasting. Even if you have a medical condition that prohibits fasting from food, if you normally enjoy watching TV in the the evening, you can fast from that by only watching the evening news. Plus, that would give you time to focus extra prayers for the 40 Days for Life pro-life cause.

Update for people from the Harrisburg, PA area: Below is a portion of an e-mail from the 40 Days for Life coordinator in this area.

We are going for all three pieces:

  1. Prayer, fasting, and alms giving for souls
  2. Vigil for bodies
  3. Education for minds

Persistent prayer, peaceful protest, and prudent presentations.

We hope to have a 24 hour a day presence at the Hillcrest Abortuary in Harrisburg for the whole 40 days. There will be a Harrisburg website where people can sign-up for the hours they can do vigil (but it is not ready yet). In addition, we will be having a rally in the Capitol rotunda at 10:00 on day 1, as well as a half way rally and a day 40 rally...

There will be info in the Witness and each parish pro-life group will get a poster, plus bulletin inserts.

We will keep you updated.

And when I'm updated, I'll update you.

What We Found When We Went Looking

Desecration Reparation Reminder

Although I did already post this press release at the beginning of the month, I'm doing so again because one of the suggested dates for reparation is tomorrow.

BALTIMORE, Maryland, July 29 -- The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy (a national association of 600 priests & deacons) responds to the sacrilegious and blasphemous desecration of the Holy Eucharist by asking for public reparation. We ask all Catholics of Minnesota and of the entire nation to join in a day of prayer and fasting that such offenses never happen again.

We find the actions of University of Minnesota (Morris) Professor Paul Myers reprehensible, inexcusable, and unconstitutional. His flagrant display of irreverence by profaning a consecrated Host from a Catholic church goes beyond the limit of academic freedom and free speech.

The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy suggested that Friday, August 1st, the feast of St. Alphonse Liguori, and/or Thursday, August 21st, the Feast of Pope St. Pius X, would be well suited to make a holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament and to fast in reparation.

So, if you had intended to indeed make reparation for this act against our Eucharistic Lord and just haven't gotten around to it, or if you'd be inclined to offer an additional day of reparation because there is no way we could ever fully make reparation, this is a reminder that tomorrow was one of the recommended days.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Compassion York

Roughly 250 people were fed in York today by the Abbottstown Upper Room Prayer Group.
Many bags were filled with personal items.

Ooodles of peaches were washed and counted.

Lots of meals were served.

Bunches of bears found homes.

Loads of clothes were disbursed.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Holy Day of Obligation

Since things can get hectic, I thought you might like a reminder that Friday the 15th of August is the day we celebrate the Mother of Christ's Assumption into Heaven.

It's noted in the Catechism that the "Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son's Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians."
Pretty special day of remembrance. See ya at Mass.

A Happy Dog

This is a happy dog whose happiness was expanded when a large dollop of icing dropped across the bridge of her nose.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

McCain Townhall Meeting - York, PA

Yesterday, Tuesday August 12, 2008, Senator John McCain's "Straight Talk Express" presidential campaign bus tour drove into the the York Expo Center Toyota Arena - literally. As the Rocky movie theme song blast forth from the arena speakers, a huge American flag raised before a large garage door lifting to reveal McCain's bus moving forward. The crowd hooted, hollered, cheered and applauded as the bus, with the candidate standing within view in the interior, moved into the venue.

Below are pictures from the event: The woman below is Nancy K. Otstot. Filled with the energy only a political party National Convention delegate can muster, Nancy Otstot will be a delegate for Pennsylvania's Cumberland County at the 2008 Republican National Convention. The convention will occur September 1st through 4th in Minnesota's twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.Ms. Otstot arrived at the the Toyota arena with some equally patriotic gal pals.I don't get why the little guy's mom likes him dressed like this. Maybe I should have asked her. Perhaps, she felt she was paying homage to Senator McCain's military background. Could be that his father is presently serving in a conflict. Not knowing why a mom would have her youngster dressed pseudo battle ready, my mind goes to what John McCain said in a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, "Only a fool or a fraud sentimentalizes the cruel and merciless reality of war."Above is House of Representative Todd Platt and Scott - yes, more than a bit out of focus.Senator Arlen Spector waiting for his time at center stage. The flag behind him is the one which would soon raise for Senator McCain's bus. Before Senator McCain and his entourage arrived, Congressman Platts spoke to the crowd before the pledge of allegiance (which had a few people spinning because they were unsure of which flag to face because there were multiple flags around the room).
Miss York County, Randi Levenduski, below, did a very fine rendition of the National Anthem.
The crowd stayed standing through Miss Levenduski's song and that of "God Bless the U.S.A" which was performed by York County's Outstanding Teen.
The Bluegrass Brakemen band energized the crowd next.Representative Stan Saylor and Senator Pat Vance each made short addresses.

Then came the bus.
If you look at this second picture of the bus, you may see Senator McCain, Tom Ridge and Senator Joe Lieberman.
You might notice that people weren't waving campaign signs. I was told before the event that McCain didn't want this to be a rally; rather, he hoped it would be a time to speak of the situation in the nation of Georgia and get down to the questions/concerns of the people. That is pretty much what it was.
Senator McCain's daughter, Meghan, watched the gathering from the bus. Meghan McCain is said to blog about the campaign. Due to my dial-up connection (gasp - yes, there are people still using dial-up), I haven't gotten to view her blog yet, but you can visit at Below is Scott with Senator Arlen Spector

The three pictures above show the crush of people who swarmed forward at the end of Senator McCain's town hall meeting.

In one of the smaller pictures you can see Senator Lieberman and in the other, Tom Ridge.

Ridge was the first Director of Homeland Security - before that, the Governor of Pennsylvania. I irritated the former Ridge staffer who sat in front of us when I told her that I was concerned about talk of Ridge as V.P running mate because of his position on abortion. Her faced changed and she turned away from me saying something about it being a non-issue with him.

Scott was fortunate enough to get Senator McCain to sign one of our tickets on his way out of the event. As Senator Lieberman had first passed, before John McCain spoke, Scott had gotten his autograph on the other ticket.

I think more important to my son than any picture taken or autograph signed was that "President McCain," as Scott now refers to him, shook his hand.